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Radiographic examination is an essential component in the management of endodontic problems. It is required in all the aspects of endodontic treatment from diagnosis and treatment planning to assessing outcome.

Until recently, most of this core information was obtained only from conventional radiographs. The amount of information gained from traditional film and digitally captured periapical radiographs is limited by the fact that the three dimensional anatomy of the region is shown as a two dimensional image. Periapical radiographs reveal limited aspects of the three-dimensional anatomy as a result of superimposition. In addition, there may also be geometric distortion of the anatomical structures being imaged.

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) gives an alternative method with low radiation, high resolution and low cost.

Cone beam computed tomography utilizes an extraoral imaging scanner which was developed in the late 1990’s to produce three-dimensional scans of the maxillo-facial skeleton at a considerably lower radiation dose than conventional computed tomography (CT).

The conical beam computed tomography (CBCT) technique presents an innovation of tomographic imaging systems and subsequent volumetric image reconstruction for dentistry. Thus limited CBCT systems offer higher resolution and are better suited for endodontic applications.

For most endodontic applications, limited or focused Field Of View (FOV) CBCT is preferred over large volume CBCT for the following reasons:

    • Increased resolution to improve the diagnostic accuracy of endodontic-specific tasks such as the visualization of small features including calcified canals and complex anatomy.
    • Highest possible resolution.
    • Decreased radiation exposure to the patient.
    • Time savings due to smaller volume to be interpreted.
    • Smaller area of responsibility.
    • Focus on anatomical area of interest. 

Perhaps the most important advantage of CBCT in endodontics is that it demonstrates anatomic features in three dimensions that intraoral and panoramic images cannot.

CBCT technology provides the Endodontist with an unparalleled visualization of the often complex relationships and boundaries between teeth and their associated pathology and anatomic variances.

Conventional intraoral radiography provides clinicians with cost-effective, high-resolution imaging that continues to be the front-line method for dental imaging. However, it is clear that there are many specific situations where the 3-D images produced by CBCT facilitates diagnosis and at times influences treatment/preferences. The usefulness of the CBCT cannot be disputed. It is a valuable task-specific imaging modality, producing minimal radiation exposure to the patient and providing maximal information to the Endodontist. At Endodontic Associates we offer this special service when indicated as an adjunct to your specialty services.